Customer Rating On return from their adventure we ask customers: “On a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest, how likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend or colleague?”
Hilary's Trip:The Original Torres del Paine W Trek
Hilary's Trip Date:
11th Feb - 1st Apr 2018
Overall, how was your trip?
So many highlights! El Chalten was the first area we explored and our first hike was to Mt Fitzroy as the weather was beautiful that day. A very special time sitting in front of the lake looking at the granite spires after a hard scramble to the top. Another favourite hike was Loma del Pliegue Tumbardo with it snowing at the top! Also Puerto Moreno Glacier seeing carvings, the Petrified Forest at Leona, the W trek and whale watching with a very knowledgeable guide on the 'Forrest' boat. Probably the best weeks scenery was the Carretera Austral and surviving the gravel roads! This area should be recommended more although the beauty was fewer people! I think it will take a while to fully appreciate all we saw.
In one sentence, what did you think of Patagonia? Did it live up to your expectations?
Wonderful scenery, geography comes to life with mountains, glaciers, u shaped valleys etc, great hiking trails and lovely people.
Would you visit again?
How was the service that Swoop provided?
We love the freedom of travelling independently but on this trip we really appreciated Swoops input and help with the W trek, whale watching and penguins although the trip was cancelled due to the weather (thats Patagonia!) although we found out other companies went and it was fine. We hadn't found the Carretera Austral so were very grateful to Swoop (Sally) for including it. We would certainly recommend Swoop to friends.
How did you feel about booking directly with our partner(s)?
It worked very well booking directly with your partners The introduction to a good company that has been tested is the most important aspect and my husband having just retired enjoyed doing the rest of the organising. Chile Nativo was very good, good guides for the W trek, well organised and good drivers. Janet Ventas Forrest gave us two great days on the boat and good transfers. Everyone was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
How likely is it that you would recommend Swoop to a friend?
10 out of 10
How was your whale watching adventure?
We loved this trip, the whole experience of being on a small boat and the zodiacs and going to a very remote area. (we only saw one other boat which was a research boat). The crew were friendly and helpful and Francesco really made the trip. He has been watching the whales for 9 years and can identify each one by its tail. Most were juveniles so not as big as expected but we had about 15 sightings and the skipper was very good navigating to get the best view. We also saw seals, sealions, a variety of birds and a couple of dolphins just as we were going to shore. The accommodation was fine. The first night was very rough and quite noisy and it rained the next morning but that is all part of the experience. We had asked for a shared cabin but had to have a double and the upgrade seemed very expensive in comparison. The food was good. We also went out in Zodiacs to a glacier and landed on the beach and were given whisky and ice. The boat the Forrest was ideal for this trip, very sturdy with good viewing areas and comfy inside. Safety was taken seriously with life jackets given and waterproofs as well.
How likely is it that you would recommend this trip to a friend? (where 0 = Not at all likely, 5 = Neutral, 10 = Extremely Likely)
9 out of 10
How was your W trek in Torres del Paine?
We were a group of 8 us and six Americans who had also booked with Swoop. Sarah and Evonne, our guides were very good. Sarah led and was very chatty and organised (especially careful all my food was dairy free which was amazing in a remote area and meant I felt very well when hiking) and very knowledgeable in geology which was an added benefit. Evonne was very patient at the back of the group and happy for us to stop and take photos. Just on the first day we felt a bit pressurised to keep up a fast pace and at the top it was cloudy when we arrived but the clouds cleared a little while later but we had to leave although we had made very good time. Our only disappointment. The accommodation and transport was fine. We were fortunate to have three fine days and only Greys glacier day it rained all day but Sarah changed our boat back to the first one of the day which was fortunate as it was the only one that went so we didn't have to walk the 11k back! We had a great week but we liked the Frenches Valley day the best maybe as we had heard very little about it before so it was a lovely surprise to be surrounded by such majestic granite towers at the end of the hike. The refuges do so well with the food in a remote area. Very glad we did it (would have loved to have done the whole circuit) but on reflection if we only had time for one area we would do El Chalten hikes and Puerto Merino glacier rather than Torres.
Do you have any tips or advice for other people planning a trip to Patagonia?
Do research before you go and be as flexible as possible with your itinerary so that you can change activities according to the weather. We felt we had to book accommodation before we went but as we had a longer trip we based ourselves in one area for 4-5 days at a time, graded what we wanted to do and then looked at the weather forecast and planned the highlights for the best weather day. It worked most of the time!
Anything else? Tell us anything you’d like to share that we forgot to ask! It’s ok to leave this empty too :-)
Thank you Swoop for your help to make our holiday a memorable one.